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Commissioners Declare Child Abuse Prevention Month at Pinwheel Garden Ceremony

4th grade students from the Bridgeton Public Charter School join Exchange Club Member Barry Horwitz and Cumberland County Commissioner Joseph Sileo in planting pinwheels in the Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Garden.
From left: Commissioner Sileo, Bridgeton Exchange Club members Alex Bland, Barry and Karen Horwitz, Cumberland County Deputy Business Administrator Luz Vasquez, and Cumberland County Clerk Celeste M. Riley.
From left: Commissioner Sileo, Bridgeton Exchange Club members Alex Bland, Barry and Karen Horwitz, Cumberland County Deputy Business Administrator Luz Vasquez, and Cumberland County Clerk Celeste M. Riley.

Commissioner Joseph V. Sileo presented a Certificate of Commendation declaring April 2023 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Cumberland County to members of The Exchange Club of Bridgeton. A ceremony was held on April 3 at the site of the Cumberland County Community Pinwheels for Prevention Garden (on the lawn in front of the Cumberland County Library in Bridgeton). More than 200 sparkling blue and silver pinwheels filled the garden and students from The Bridgeton Public Charter School added 25 more during the ceremony.

The pinwheels will continue to flutter in the breeze throughout the month to convey a message of hope and action for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. In presenting the commendation, Commissioner Sileo, a past president of the Vineland Exchange Club, declared that “finding solutions requires input and action from everyone” and “we must work together as a community to increase awareness… and commit to promote programs and activities that create social and emotional well-being of children and families.”

According to Karen Horwitz, Exchange Club president, “The National Exchange Club adopted Prevention of Child Abuse as its national project in 1979. The pinwheel garden is a new project for our club and we hope that it will be a highly visible way to bring attention to the needs of children and families in our community.”

Pinwheels added to the garden have been sponsored by concerned individuals, community agencies and organizations committed to providing programs, systems, supports and interventions to ensure that every child grows up in safe, stable and nurturing environments.

Representatives from Cumberland County administration, Cumberland County Department of Human Services, NJ Child Assault Prevention, the RE-Vision Project of the United Advocacy Group, Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, the Cumberland East Office of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), and CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates all took part in the ceremony and shared information about their programs.

Lydia Ramsey, RE-Vision Youth Initiatives Program Director, explained that “Intergenerational trauma is one of the biggest obstacles that the youth and families we serve have to overcome but we have seen success with dedication, consistency and support through teamwork with community partners.”

Theresa McKay-Booth, Senior Director of Child Development at the YMCA, invited community members to “take part in the Y’s 5 Days of Action, a week-long campaign beginning April 24, designed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse.”

Other current contributors to the garden include the South Jersey Drug Treatment Center and the Cumberland County Health Department. Cumberland East DCPP has planted an additional garden in front of their offices at 275 North Delsea Drive in Vineland and Coldwell Banker Excel Realty is partnering with the Exchange Club to plant a third pinwheel garden in front of their Vineland Office at 1100 East Landis Avenue.

Exchange Club Blue Ribbon Cards can be purchased at their office and at the YMCA throughout the month. Monies raised will help fund “Believe in the Blue” Child Abuse Prevention initiatives in Cumberland County including Suitcase/Comfort Bags supplied to child protection and support agencies, Shaken Baby Education Packs to new families, Baby Safe Sleep Sacks (wearable blankets to prevent SIDS) to parents of infants enrolled in Nurse-Family Partnership programs, and Positive Parenting Tips to the parents of school age children.

Please contact the Bridgeton Exchange Club at if you would like to help increase the size of the garden or plant one of your own.

The mission of Exchange is to inspire communities to become better places to live. Based on the core values of family, community, and country, the club engages in a variety of community service projects in addition to child abuse prevention efforts, including support for local veterans, food for the hungry, and high school youth recognition programs.